Cleansing is a part of our everyday routine and perhaps the most important step in our skin care routine. During the day we wear makeup, we touch our faces multiple times, we sweat, we secrete sebum, we are exposed to pollution and other harmful allergens, pathogens and bacteria. Our skin relies on a good cleansing routine that not only removes all the bad things, but also provides our skin with many protective benefits.
The skin is first and foremost an immune organ. It is programmed to protect us from harmful substances that might enter the skin and once the skin’s barrier has been compromised we will be faced with sensitivity, dryness and redness. Our cleansing routine also prepares our skin for any treatment that follows it. If we want the active ingredients of our serums and our moisturizers to penetrate effectively, we must ensure that our skin is clean and that our pH is balanced so that we can get optimal penetration of those ingredients to do their job effectively. Our skin’s barrier is made up of a complex combination of lipids, oils and water. Our Acid mantle is our skin’s first line of defence against allergens and bacteria. The acid mantle is a combination of natural secretions that protect us. The acid mantle needs to be maintained at an acidic level in order to protect the skin, as bacteria and other harmful substances cannot survive in a acidic environment. If we use a cleanser that contains soap, it can alter the pH so that it becomes more alkaline than acidic, which can make us prone to damage and will make the treatment products we apply afterwards less effective.
Some signs and symptoms of a damaged acid mantle include:
- A dry, sensitive skin
- A rough texture
- Poor healing rate so high risk for procedures
- Worsening symptoms of rosacea
The other part of our skin’s barrier function that can get damaged by foaming cleansers is our lipid bilayer. The lipid bilayer is made up of a complex mix of natural lipids that include ceramides, free fatty acids and cholesterol. These lipids always need to be in good supply as they surround our skin cells to protect them and protect our cell interior from becoming damaged. In certain skin types our skin barrier is prone to damage. People that suffer from Acne, rosacea, genetically dry skin, eczema and psoriasis have a poorly functioning barrier and therefore need extra protection. A poorly functioning barrier will also make your skin more prone to premature ageing and hyperpigmentation. The easiest way to preserve our skin barrier function is to make sure our cleansing and toning routine preserves these lipids and the acid mantle. Cleansing oils and micellar cleansers are two of the most effective ways to preserve the skin barrier but still provide an effective cleansing routine that removes all traces of makeup, dirt and pollution.
Cleansing oils might sound strange to some, but due to their lipophilic makeup, they are excellent at removing even stubborn waterproof makeup. Not only that, but they contain oil soluble ingredients which will not alter the acid mantle and will benefit the lipid bilayer. OptoDerm’s Deep Cleansing Oil contains ingredients like olive oil esters, macadamia oil and shea butter, all rich in linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is particularly good for skins prone to acne and many other skin indications, as these skins lack linoleic acid in their sebum fatty acid profile. Due to its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, it will relieve many of the symptoms associated with acne and reduce sensitivity.
OptoDerm’s Micellar cleansers are no-rinse, cleansers and toners, in one. Most conventional foaming cleansers contain anionic surfactants, betaines and sulphates. Anionic surfactants bind with minerals that are naturally present in water and they become insoluble, which can cause them to block the pores and encourage the formation of blackheads. Betaines and sulphates, which are also present in a lot of cleansers can be harmful as they are endocrine disruptors. And the quality of water in certain areas leaves much to be desired – tap water can contain as much as 5% harmful chlorine!
Micellar cleansers are applied to a cotton pad, which is then used to remove all traces of dirt and makeup, to cleanse and tone in one easy step. The little micelles are made up of hydrophilic heads, which binds to the cotton wool and lipophilic or oil loving tails which bind to oil soluble makeup, dirt and pollution on the skin, to remove it safely and effectively without stripping the skin of it’s natural barrier. This leaves only the water component on the skin, which is left to dry without further rinsing. And this water component contains “active” ingredients like niacinamide, NAG, caffeine, ribose, inositol and biomimetic moisturising factors, that improve skin barrier function, heal acne lesions, reduce sebum production, are anti-aging, limit water loss from the skin and provide us with antioxidant protection against free radicals formed due to sun exposure and pollution. OptoDerm micellar cleansers also contain the major components of your skin’s natural moisturising factor (NMF), to replenish and fortify those that are deficient, thereby re-hydrating your skin. This makes your cleanser an “active” part of your skin routine and much more than just a cleanser.
Show your skin the respect it deserves by maximising the benefits that you get from your cleansing routine and reducing the harmful affects you might get from using conventional foaming cleansers!